A medically-supervised detoxification facility is often the first stop for more serious drug or alcohol dependencies, though you might be surprised what is considered “serious.”
Although there are some outpatient forms of tapering of some of these drugs through the use of substitutes, the more effective way of detoxing is in a controlled environment with appropriate personnel, including doctors and nurses.
What is a Medical Detox Center Like?
Just like other types of services, medical detox centers come in different forms. Sometimes they are part of a hospital or mental health center that could also include a psychiatric unit. There are also free-standing private detoxification centers that work with rehabs in the area. Most rehabs these days either have a detox clinic they work with locally or may even have their own detox wing withing their facility.
In these facilities, medical personnel continually monitor vital signs while administering meds in decreasing dosages over a period of time. Depending on the the drugs used and the person’s health, this could last between 3 and 10 days in most cases. Rarely will a detox last more than two weeks, but there are sometimes more delicate cases that can take a bit longer.
The goal is to get someone through the main withdrawal symptoms with the least discomfort and into a stable condition so that the rehabilitation and recovery process can continue. The medical personnel are there because many of these drugs, including alcohol, opiates a host of prescription medications, can otherwise have very server withdrawal symptoms, including death. Having the right training, experience and clinical setting helps to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.